Yes. Sex can be enjoyed just as much after HIV diagnosis as it was before, with either long- or short-term partners. To enjoy sex without anxiety there are a few things that should be considered.
If you haven’t started HIV treatment you should make sure you wear a condom during sex.
If you have started HIV treatment and have had an undetectable HIV viral load for at least six months, the likelihood of you passing on HIV to others is significantly reduced.
Talk to your healthcare team about what else you can do to prevent passing on HIV to sexual partners, this includes:
If you're on effective treatment and your HIV viral load is undetectable, the likelihood of you passing on HIV to others is significantly reduced, so it’s you and your partner’s choice to decide whether you use condoms.
For it to be as safe as possible to not wear a condom, the following provisions are essential:
Condoms are the best way to protect you and your partner from HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). This includes bacterial infections like gonorrhoea or viruses such as herpes.
When both partners have HIV using condoms may not be front of mind, but there are considerations aside from other STIs or hepatitis C virus:
There are many benefits in talking to your partner about your HIV status:
Are there any negatives?
ChemSex is a term used to describe having sex usually with multiple partners whilst taking recreational drugs (chemicals or chems), such as crystal meth, MDMA, ecstasy or cocaine. It is a term more commonly used in the gay and bisexual community.
As well using condoms to protect yourself from sexually transmitted infections (STIs), it is recommended for you to use your own, clean needles if you do inject drugs. This can help to protect against conditions such as hepatitis C. Hepatitis C can live outside of the body for up to 4 days. What this means is unclean needles or sex toys (even if blood isn’t visible on them) can carry the infection.
Ask your healthcare team if there are specialist services available to talk about staying protected during ChemSex.
Possibly, but sex drive changes are common amongst people with or without HIV for reasons entirely unrelated to HIV. It is also more common as you age.
It doesn’t affect everyone living with HIV, however, HIV can increase the likelihood in the following ways:
If you are concerned about changes to your sex drive or sexual performance, speak to your healthcare team for advice.
Ask your healthcare team…